I made this cake for the first time on St. Patrick’s Day ealier this year. It was so yummy that it I knew I would be making it again for the Charity Cake Sale I held recently. Safe to say, it all sold out at the sale! This cake has the perfect moist chocolate sponge, and the Baileys buttercream is to die for! I could swim in a vat of the stuff! This would go in my top five favourite cakes of all time without a doubt. I have also pretty much decided that this is going to be my birthday cake, or one of my birthday cakes!
First I creamed together 200g dark brown sugar and 250g butter until pale and fluffy. Then I added 100g melted dark chocolate and mixed in. I then added 2 eggs, one at a time, mixing well.
I measured out 200ml Guinness and added it bit by bit, mixing after each addition.
Using a sieve I added into the mixture 275g self raising flour, 30g cocoa powder, 1 tsp baking powder and 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda, and folded in.
I poured the mixture into a lined and greased circular loose-bottomed 22cm cake tin.
And baked on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 35-40 minutes. I always use my cake tester (a very thin skewer) to check my cakes are done in the middle. I left it to cool on a wire rack.
To make the Baileys buttercream I mixed together 85g butter, 210g icing sugar and 3 tbsp Baileys irish cream. Try not to eat it all before you put it on the cake!
I smoothed it on top using a palette knife. I made a cardboard stencil of the Guinness harp logo by tracing an image from my laptop onto paper, sticking it onto a piece of card, then using a craft knife to cut it out. I held the cardboard over the cake and sprinkled cocoa powder over it. I was so pleased with how this looked! I will be keeping hold of my homemade stencil for future use.
I secretly wanted some of this to be left over at the cake sale so I could eat some, but no such luck! I will have to make this again soon as I still have two cans of Guinness in my cupboard. Let me know if you make this and what you think of it! Would it make your top five best cakes of all time list?
I was recently approached by Scottish preserves manufacturer Mackays to try out some of their jams and preserves in my baking. Baking is the main place that I use jam, although this tends to be mainly spreading it in the middle of sandwich cakes! I end up with half a jar of jam left in the fridge that I never end up using (I found two before writing this post) I’ve never gotten that creative with jam so this was a great opportunity for me to try out new ways of using it in my baking. I made this loaf twice and used up the whole jar of jam, finally an empty jar!
The jam I used for this bake was Mackay’s Blueberry & Blackcurrant Preserve. You can find out more about this preserve or find where to buy it by clicking here.
To make the loaf I creamed together 175g caster sugar and 175g butter. I then added 3 eggs and the zest of one lemon and mixed well. Finally I folded in 200g self raising flour and 25g ground almonds.
I put the mixture into a lined loaf tin, then spooned the jam on top. Using a knife I swirled the mixture around.
I baked on 160C/325F/Gas Mark 3 (turn up to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 if not using a fan oven) for about an hour.
I love the look of the swirl effect on the top of the loaf! This cake was eaten up quickly and the fruity flavours all compliment each other well. It was really delicious and I found myself going back for more. I only had one complaint – more jam next time! The jam was the real star of this bake. This is a great first time bake if you want to try out a new way of using jam in baking. Look out for more posts as I continue my jam adventure!
Last weekend I headed to Millennium Square in Leeds city centre to check out the bustling markets, fun music and chef demonstrations of the Leeds Food Festival. Now in it’s 7th year, the festival is all about showcasing the delicious and tasty food and drink of local Yorkshire businesses. With the gorgeous weather at the weekend the square was full of people and had a great atmosphere!
After watching the Punch & Judy show and having a good giggle, the exotic smells of Musti’s Kitchen wafted towards me. They make traditional Turkish food using Yorkshire suppliers, and the food is prepared and cooked fresh daily at their cafe in Halifax.
Fish& serve sustainable fish and chips with a twist such as; masala spiced fish that is marinated overnight with sweet potato chips, grilled mackerel baps with lemon horseradish mayo, calamari with lemon and chilli batter and hand-rolled sushi. You can find their food van on Commercial Street in Leeds most days.
Sweet Sensations had a huge array of delicious looking cakes with some really interesting flavours. The sponges looked light and the decorations looked sweet and fresh. The presentation of these gorgeous cakes was the only thing that needed some work.
Lulabelle‘s stand was absolutely gorgeous! Very vintage and girly, I loved the camper van and the presentation of the biscuits in the large glass jars. Their elegant flavours like white chocolate, rose water and cardamon, and white chocolate and orange blossom matched the theme of the stand perfectly. Lulabelle is available for weddings and parties.
Sandinista is an award winning cocktail bar and tapas restaurant with locations in both Leeds and Manchester. I had a frozen pina colada and it was absolutely delicious! I hope they serve them at the restaurant because I need another one of those soon!
The Sawley Kitchen are a independent Yorkshire company specialising in hand-crafted
delights such as the giant meringues in the photo above! They use family recipes that are over 200
years old to make some of their products which include biscuits, cakes, pastries, chutneys, relishes, dressings and celebration hampers. They are a real traditional company with a history, and I like that a lot.
I’m not sure of the name of the company that produces these hilariously named real ale’s as there wasn’t a sign, but both myself and my boyfriend thought it was so funny! Great present for Dads and Grandads!
Brown & Blond are a bakery tucked away in the North Yorkshire countryside that produce brownies and blondies in over 30 flavour combinations. The flavours sounded great, almost too many to choose from such as nutella, marshmallow, Crunchie, Oreo, Malteasers, macadamia… oh and one I’ll be avoiding – chilli!
I love a piece of crusty fresh bread dipped in a bowl of oil and balsamic, to me that is heavenly! I also think oil is essential in cooking and adds great flavour. A family run company, Yorkshire Drizzle make an Extra Virgin Cold Pressed Rapeseed Oil that they blend with essential oils, dried herbs and spices to create seven different varieties of the oil. Check out their website for recipe ideas!
Spiffing Flour and Frumenta are European companies, I saw their range of flours at a stand and was interested in purchasing the pizza and pasta versions, that was until a woman stood next to me pointed out that the instructions on the bag are in Italian! That being said, if you already know what you’re doing, for making Italian staples, surely a flour from Italy is the best to use!
There was no sign for this stand but I just had to show you how giant these ‘rock’ road cakes were! Not sure why they were rock instead of rocky, but they look good!
The Dumouchel stand immediately attracted me because of these gorgeous macarons in bright summer colours! Based in Leeds, Dumouchel is a boulangerie, patisserie and chocolaterie ran by Thierry Dumouchel who trained at the renowned food college in Rouen, France, and has worked in Paris, London, Sydney and Tokyo before opening the patisserie. On their website you can order bread boxes which arrive part baked for you to freeze or finish in the oven for fresh bakery bread anytime! I love this idea! Thierry also recently published a book called ‘I ❤ Chocolate’.
There are four Sukhothai Thai restaurants in Leeds and one in Harrogate, the restaurants have received rave reviews, numerous awards and 6 consecutive appearances in The Good Food Guide since they opened in 2002. The owner and head chef worked in Bangkok for 8 years and continues to import fresh ingredients from Thailand. The food they had on offer looked stunning and super fresh!
I headed over to Tapas On Wheels for my lunch, I can never resist the big pans of paella at food festivals! There was also a chorizo stew that looked really good.
The sponsor of the event, Asda, were championing local food. The photos above show a selection of the products from local businesses that Asda stock in their supermarkets. It’s nice to see a big corporation like Asda supporting small independent businesses.
Leeds is a great city that I spend a lot of time in and I loved seeing, learning and tasting what local food and produce it has to offer!
On Saturday 1st June I hosted a Cake Sale & Craft Fair at Festival Hall in Alderley Edge to raise money for Macmillan and St Ann’s Hospice. After my nana passed away in December I wanted to do something for the charities that took care of her as they did an amazing job. Both charities had also been there for my grandfather who passed when I was younger, and for family friends. The idea started out as a simple cake sale, but then grew into a craft fair too. I’ve never done anything like this before, but luckily I had my family, friends and colleagues to help me make it a success!
Festival Hall is situated away on Talbot Road behind the main shopping area in Alderley Edge, it was built in the 1920s and is a unique venue with ballroom chandeliers and dance floor. It holds many local events including exhibitions, festivals and dancing.
There were both cakes and hot drinks on offer on the day, my sister Corrine, her boyfriend Dave, and her friend Jennie manned the kitchen serving tea, coffee and squash all kindly donated by Costco and The Co-operative Food. The donations were really key to my event, I wanted all the profit to go to the charities, and donations allowed me to do this.
Some of the delicious cakes on offer…! As well as myself, my stepmum, mum, sister, sister’s friend Jennie, auntie, my friend Sophie, and my nana’s friend Alan all baked. Suffice to say we weren’t short of cake! There are some links below to the recipes on my blog if you’d like to make them at home or for your own bake sale.
A selection of Flapjacks, Iced Fruit Cakes and Blueberry Cake with a Buttery Glaze.
There was also a tombola with prizes such as champagne, books, cuddly toys, toiletries and vouchers kindly donated by The Bubble Room and Stuart Thornley Cake Design. My mum ran the stall all day and it was really successful, we only had about five prizes left at the end of the day and they have either been sold on ebay with the profits adding to the total, or taken to the St. Ann’s Hospice charity shop.
A tombola winner happy with his prize!
There was a great selection of stall holders on the day. Chrissy Jones makes felt and fabric toys and greetings cards.
Oooh Betty! makes toys and cushions. I love the pug cushion – so cute!
Hannah Smith Stone is an old school friend of mine who designs and carves items out of natural stone and slate such as door signs and coasters. She offers personalised orders and will custom the design and lettering for you.
Poppy Designs handcrafted jewellery is made from Murano glass, sparkling Swarovski, and handmade beads and pendants.
Margaret Williams makes a variety of handcrafted items including small applique cushions, bags and pictures, hanging hearts, wicker hearts and quilted notebooks.
Jessica Best, owner of Bestie Handmade Crafts makes handmade fabric items such as heart garlands, baby accessories, phone cases, fabric cards and bags. Her items are full of floral and shabby chic prints, very Cath Kidston style!
Phoenix Cards had stall with their cards as well as homemade greetings cards.
Rubbish Revamped were offering craft workshops. They aim to inspire you to transform your rubbish and other neglected items into fun and even practical crafts! I’m definitely a big fan of recyling and I think turning ‘junk’ into useable items is a fantastic idea.
Cherish the Moment stepped in at the last minute when I had a cancellation and brought along a gorgeous selection of their handmade jewellery & giftware, teddy bunny collectibles, door stops and associated giftware and memorabilia.
Julie Robinson owner of The Crafty Little Cottage makes some gorgeous textile products such as bags and cushions. I really love the prints she uses!
Bourb’ems are a new business that have been set up by one of my work colleagues Emma. She make cupcakes as well as bourbon biscuits filled with delicious chocolate hazelnut filling
Cheshire Books sell fun and interactive books for children, their owner also runs the Handforth Craft Fair, which is held on the 1st Sunday of every month at Honford Hall.
Sue & Glynis are local crafters to Alderley Edge who sell jewellery, hair accessories and handbags.
Cheeky Chefs had a decorate your own gingerbread biscuit station set up for both little and big kids! The aim of the company is to introduce children to the fun of cooking from an
early age by giving them skills they’ll use their whole lives. They host a wide range
of parties and run cookery clubs in schools and venues across the North West. See their website for more details!
Nuke the Magician kindly donated his time and amazing skills to entertain the visitors. Nuke has been part of the UK’s Magic Circle for over a decade and is available to entertain you and your guests at weddings, proms, birthdays and corperate events.
Sand Art Supreme were offering sand art workshops for children. Natural sand is used to ‘paint’ self-adhesive and illustrated cards. The picture drawn is pre-cut and ready to sand paint. Peelable parts on the picture must be removed and coloured sand applied for painting. A great and fun activity for kids!
Nuke impresses the visitors with his stunning tricks!
The cake stall customers were spoilt for choice by the selection!
A little visitor enjoying the Sand Art Supreme stall!
I’m so pleased with how the fundraiser went, I am pleased to announce that I raised…
for Macmillan and St Ann’s Hospice! I’m so thrilled by this and can’t thank everyone involved enough for helping me to raise such an amazing sum.
Pineapple upside down cake has stood the test of time – it was created in the 1920s and is still loved today! It all started when pineapple became available in canned form and the companies producing it used the recipe in their advertising. They were originally made in cast iron skillets and flipped onto the plate when finished which displayed the fruit. This modern version turns it into a sandwich cake filled with jam and fresh whipped cream, it’s a great family dessert that everyone will love!
I lined and greased two sandwich tins. I sprinkled the bottom of one cake tin with caster sugar. In the same tin I arranged the pineapple rings and glace cherries.
To the pineapple juice I added the melted butter, golden caster sugar, eggs, vanilla extract and self raising flour, and mixed it all together.
I divided the mixture into the two cake tins, using scales for accuracy.
I baked the cakes for 30-35 minutes.
I spread a layer of jam onto the non-pineapple side, then piped the cream on top.
I put the pineapple side on top and the cake was done! I love how effective the look of this cake is! The pineapple neatly arranged on top looks fantastic and saves the need for any other kind of decoration. Something the bakers of any decade can appreciate!
This cake was so delicious! The sponge is lovely and light with a hint of pineapple flavour, the jam and cream in the middle is the perfect combination, and the juicy pineapple on top is so yummy!